Qantas customers are one step closer to receiving Wi-Fi inflight, thanks to a successful hardware installation on the trail aircraft last week (November 7th to 13th).
The Boeing 737-800 aircraft in question has now re-entered commercial service but will operate for a few more months without Wi-Fi being made available.
A number of ground and inflight tests of the new Wi-Fi system will be carried out by Qantas with its technology partner ViaSat before it is made available to customers in the early months of 2017.
Several rounds of testing have already been carried out on the ground - and Qantas head of customer experience Phil Capps said the hardware installation is an important milestone for the national carrier.
"We are very excited that we are a step closer to introducing our fast and free inflight Wi-Fi," he remarked.
Mr Capps said eagle-eyed customers may be able to spot the newly-installed satellite antenna, which is housed in a streamlined fibreglass radome on top of the fuselage towards the back end of the plane.
Qantas engineers in Brisbane installed this hardware - and it took ten of these workers approximately 900 man hours to complete - the equivalent of 12 working days to install and test the new kit.
Multiple wireless access points are incorporated into the equipment, which is intended to ensure that all customers will have the same signal quality, regardless of where they are sitting on the aircraft.
"While we know that customers will want to connect to the Wi-Fi, we really do appreciate their patience while we go through our final testing process. We're just as excited as them to roll this out," Mr Capps commented.
He described the Wi-Fi installation as an extraordinary task that requires a lot of testing to ensure that safety and quality standards are met.